Over forty participants from 17 countries attended the workshop organised by LINKS (DAR) on the theme “Global challenges, shifting regional parameters, and the need for innovative responses” held in Borjomi, Georgia from 7-9 July 2017.
British parliamentarian, Lord Purvis of Tweed, made the keynote address in which he outlined the rapid changes ongoing in the world, particularly in the area of communications, and the need to develop appropriate responses to them.
Workshop participants, most of them young people from the caucasus, the MENA region and Europe heard presentations from regional experts on ongoing political processes, and discussed a number of issues related to communications, information, problems related to fake news and the use of public diplomacy as a tool in support of conflict resolution. On the second day the workshop divided in three groups to discuss some of these issues in more detail.
Writing on commonspace.eu, LINKS Director, Dr Dennis Sammut said:
In my work I am often obliged to engage simultaneously with traditional political and diplomatic settings, and in track 2 informal and alternative frameworks. Indeed, an important part of my job is to try to bridge the two. Established politicians and diplomats are often dismissive of civil society initiatives, evaluating them as irrelevant at best. In Borjomi this weekend I was once more convinced of the folly of this approach.
There is a wealth of energy and ideas in many track 2 processes that are much needed if the big challenges of the day are to be resolved. In the Caucasus region, the EU supported EPNK initiative is now engaged in such a venture, despite the fact that the support of governments in the region, as well as the more traditional international diplomatic frameworks, is often lukewarm. Yet despite the all-round cynicism that I encounter every day in the international community, in Borjomi last weekend I was once more reminded of the great resource of hope, ideas, energy and good-will that lies largely untapped, but that is much needed if we are going to seriously engage in tackling global and regional challenges ahead. Cynics should hold their peace. Young civil society has much to give.
A full report on the Borjomi workshop will be available on this website shortly.
Photo: British Parliamentarian Lord Purvis of Tweed made the keynote address at the LINKS (DAR) workshop held in Borjomi 7-9 July 2017.